Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has his work cut out for him in the courtroom.
The first round of Alvarez’s recently filed lawsuit against Golden Boy Promotions, company founder and chairman Oscar de la Hoya and sports streaming service DAZN was dismissed by the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California on Friday. The case was rejected on the grounds in which Alvarez’s attorneys named the multiple defendants.
As plaintiff, Alvarez (52-1-2, 36KOs) named DAZN North America, Inc., DAZN Media Inc., DAZN US LLC., Perform Investment Limited, Golden Boy Promotions LLC, Golden Boy Promotions Inc. and de la Hoya as defendants in the lawsuit where the Mexican icon seeks damages in excess of $280 million. In naming said parties, the burden of proof resides with the plaintiff to properly identify where said companies conduct their business.
Friday’s ruling suggested that Alvarez and his legal team, The Maloney Firm have more work to do.
“Because the Complaint alleges the citizenship of the LLC defendants as if they were corporations, rather than as limited liability companies, the Complaint has not properly alleged the citizenship of those parties,” noted the honorable Percy Anderson, district judge for the U.S. District Court in the official ruling, a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. “Absent unusual circumstances, a party seeking to invoke diversity jurisdiction should be able to allege affirmatively the actual citizenship of the relevant parties.
“As a result, Plaintiffs’ allegations are not sufficient to invoke this Court’s diversity jurisdiction.”
Alvarez filed the lawsuit with the Central District of California on Tuesday, alleging breach of contract by de la Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions. The suit sought a minimum settlement of $280 million—the remaining amount of Alvarez’s record breaking 11-fight. $365 million contract he signed upon the three-division champion and his promoter bringing their business to DAZN-USA in the early hours of October 11, 2018.
As revealed in the filed lawsuit, the actual contract exists between DAZN and Golden Boy, the latter whom in turn pays Alvarez. By his own admission, Alvarez has never seen the contract between the two, despite multiple requests for a copy which he alleges have been refused by both parties.
Alvarez and de la Hoya endured a falling out last year over this very subject, though have done their best to move forward in a business sense. Their contentious relationship was on display throughout fight week leading up to Alvarez’s eventual 11th round knockout of Sergey Kovalev to win a light heavyweight title last November at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Such efforts to remain business professional have been severely challenged in 2020, first by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and then through what Alvarez and his legal team officially classify as tortious interference on the part of DAZN. Efforts to land on an approved opponent for Alvarez’s next fight have been compromised by the insistence of the global superstar having to take a massive paycut—which he was willing to do, within reason—all while claiming final say on whom he faces.
Such language is not found in the existing contract, as discovered by Alvarez’s attorney. The contract states that “Alvarez’ opponents would be mutually selected by [Alvarez] and [Golden Boy Promotions], subject to [Alvarez’s] final approval, not to be unreasonably withheld.”
A Notice of Assignment was submitted on September 10, naming Alka Sagar as the magistrate judge, who was to receive all discovery-related motions. All seven named defendants were served with a certify copy of the lawsuit, instructed to respond to the complaint within 21 days after service of summons or “file a motion under Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The answer or motion must be served on the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney.”
Failure to respond to the complaint will result in a judgment by default against the defendants, for the relief demanded in the complaint. Some time has now been added to the clock, the burden of proof now resides with Alvarez and The Maloney Firm to properly allege citizenship of the named LLC defendants.
“Accordingly, the Court dismisses Plaintiffs’ Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,” judge Anderson stated in the dismissal. “A district court may, and should, grant leave to amend when it appears that subject matter jurisdiction may exist, even though the complaint inadequately alleges jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1653; Trentacosta v. Frontier Pacific Aircraft Industries, Inc., 813 F.2d 1553, 1555 (9th Cir. 1987).
“Therefore, the Court grants Plaintiffs leave to amend the Complaint to establish federal subject matter jurisdiction.
Alvarez now has until September 28 to file a First Amended Complaint. Failure to do so or adequately allege the District Court’s jurisdiction will potentially result in an outright dismissal.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox